What Is True?
August 3, 2002
Edited: December 30, 2008
 
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Comments on Cultism Continued

You can pretend if you want. The powerless can pretend to be free, and in control. He or she can pretend the liar is speaking the truth. He can pretend his life and money is freely given to the thief.

There needs to be some idea of justice in terms of properly placing the blame. I plan to describe the system of thought created by the influence of the Worldwide Church of God, from the point of view of what went on in my own mind.

Some in the Church persist in repeating thought-control phrases like, “Move on from the past“ and, “Don't be bitter". 1  But I think it is more positive to ignore that advice.

When I say "cult", I don't necessarily mean something dramatic, but I do mean something destructive. I am excluding non-destructive cults and religions from my definition. There are different levels of destructiveness among different groups, and individuals in the same group have different experiences. Also, this type of abusiveness is not just limited to religious cults at all.

To use a loose analogy, dogmatic religion is like the electromagnetic spectrum 2. At one end, you have the harmless, noisy "radio waves" conveying some information, "light" in the middle, and high energy “X-rays” and “gamma rays” at the other end. The gamma rays are more lethal than the X-rays, so the gamma rays represent the more severe cults. Less abusive cults overlap with some hell-mongering traditional religions in the sun-burn “ultra-violet”. This is where religions make distinctions between themselves and "cults" in terms of unorthodox doctrines rather than by objective standards. One objective standard, that a destructive cult would fail, is respect for the well-being of individuals, which does not include the cultivation of dependency and submissiveness as if they were life-strengthening virtues.

The cult experience might just take the form of a nice peaceful law-abiding rot that occurs in someone’s mind, alone, and no one would ever find it so exciting that they would put it on the television news. Yes, in my Church, there were scandals, suffering due to health doctrines, marriages broken up by ministers, poverty caused and aggravated by financial policies 3, and yes, OK, there was one huge explosion that made the TV news 4.

But other than that, what I have to say about my kind of cult isn’t exciting. Anyway, apparently there isn’t any lower limit on human suffering 5 , and my experience can't compete with that. So what is the big deal? Well, some of us realize we live short lives, and we don't really want to settle for any more mindless suffering and unchosen sacrifice on behalf of unworthy causes.

I would like to see others avoid these mistakes, and I would like to help counteract the influence of ideologies like the one I used to support. It's all about pointing out the traps, getting out of them, or avoiding them. It's about staying free, because one’s own life matters for its own sake.

Free Will is Hard Work

People need to take responsibility for their choices, but they also need to find knowledge and assistance when they are trying to make decisions about life. It is not enough to blame cult members like some do. Cultism is like other dependencies. I believe free will or control over one's life is possible, but it has to be worked for. This site will try to point out some of the many resources that provide information on subjects like cultism, as well as objective ways of looking at values without submitting to invented fears. >




Notes

[1] Hebrews 12:15, “root of bitterness”, Biblegateway.com

[2] http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/emspectrum.html at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html, Imagine the Universe!

[3] Ambassador Report Archives by John Trechak, at http://www.herbertwarmstrong.com/ar/index.htm
See, for example, Ambassador Report issue 49, November 1991. Contains story about poverty, and discussion about “divorce and remarriage” doctrine.

[4] Toronto Sun web site: June 20, 1998 “Gas Blast Arsonist is Guilty, Faces Life for Triggering Fiery Explosion that Destroyed 4 Homes".
Toronto Sun: http://www.fyitoronto.com/torsun.shtml

[5] The Cambodian Killing Fields, http://www.dithpran.org/killingfields.htm

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